Special court defers hearing in 2G spectrum scam case

Special court defers hearing in 2G spectrum scam case
Special court defers hearing in 2G spectrum scam case

A special court today deferred hearing in the 2G spectrum scam cases in which former telecom minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi are among the accused.

Special Judge O P Saini, who is exclusively dealing with cases arising out of the 2G spectrum scam, also issued production warrants against Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra and Bollywood producer Karim Morani, who were absent as they are in judicial custody in other cases.

While Chandra is in Tihar Jail in connection with several cheating cases against his real estate firm Unitech Ltd, Morani is in a Hyderabad jail in a rape case.

The other accused were present in the court.

The court — which has been hearing the three cases, two filed by the CBI and one by the Enforcement Directorate — has fixed November 7 as the next date of hearing when it is likely to decide the date of pronouncing the judgement.

In the first case filed by the CBI, those facing trial include Raja and Kanimozhi as well as former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja’s erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Chandra and three top executives of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) — Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair.

The directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Kalaignar TV Director Sharad Kumar and Karim Morani are also accused in the case.

Besides these 14, three telecom firms — Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL), Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd — are facing trial in the case.

In October 2011, the court framed charges against them under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, faking documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe.

In its charge sheet filed in April 2011 against Raja and others, the CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in the allocation of 122 licences for 2G spectrum which were scrapped by the Supreme Court on February 2, 2012.

The court has recorded the statements of 154 CBI witnesses — including Anil Ambani, his wife Tina Ambani and former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia — running into over 4,400 pages.

The offences entail punishment ranging from six months in jail to life imprisonment.

In the second CBI case, those facing trial are Essar Group promoters Ravi Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, Loop Telecom promoters Kiran Khaitan, her husband I P Khaitan and Essar Group Director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf.

Three firms, Loop Telecom Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding Ltd (ETHL), have also been named in the charge sheet.

The ED had filed a charge sheet in April 2014 against 19 people, including Raja, Kanimozhi, Shahid Balwa, Vinod Goenka, Asif Balwa, Rajiv Aggarwal, Karim Morani and Sharad Kumar, in connection with a money laundering case relating to the scam.

In its charge sheet, the ED also named DMK supremo M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal as an accused in the case, in which it alleged that Rs 200 crore was paid by STPL promoters to DMK-run Kalaignar TV.

The final report named 10 individuals and nine companies as accused in the case. The ED has charge-sheeted them for the offence of money laundering under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

( Source – PTI )

Special court reserves verdict in 2G scam case

Special court reserves verdict in 2G scam case
Special court reserves verdict in 2G scam case

A special court today reserved its verdict in the 2G spectrum allocation scam cases involving former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others as accused, six years after the CBI filed the first charge sheet.

Special Judge O P Saini, who is exclusively dealing with the cases arising out of the 2G spectrum scam, fixed July 15 for pronouncement of the verdict in the three cases.

The court has been hearing the three cases — two filed by the CBI and the third by the Enforcement Directorate.

The court asked all the parties to file by July 5 any additional documents they wished to.

In the first case filed by CBI, those facing trial, besides Raja and Kanimozhi, are former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja’s erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra, three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) — Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair — are facing trial in the case.

Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Kalaignar TV Director Sharad Kumar and Bollywood producer Karim Morani are also accused in the case.

Besides these 14, three telecom firms — Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL), Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Ltd — are also facing trial in the case.

The court had in October 2011 framed charges against them under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating,forgery, faking documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe.

In its charge sheet filed in April 2011 against Raja and others, CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of 122 licences for 2G spectrum which were scrapped by the Supreme Court on February 2, 2012.

The court has recorded the statements of 154 CBI witnesses, including Reliance ADAG Chairman Anil Ambani, his wife Tina Ambani and former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, running into over 4,400 pages in the case.

The offences entail punishment ranging from six months in jail to life imprisonment.

In the second CBI case, those who face trial are Essar Group promoters Ravi Ruia and Anshuman Ruia, Loop Telecom promoters, Kiran Khaitan, her husband I P Khaitan and Essar Group Director (Strategy and Planning) Vikash Saraf.

Three firms, Loop Telecom Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and Essar Tele Holding Ltd (ETHL) are also chage sheeted.

The ED, in its case, had filed a charge sheet in April 2014 against 19 people, including Raja, Kanimozhi, Shahid Balwa, Vinod Goenka, Asif Balwa, Rajiv Aggarwal, Karim Morani and Sharad Kumar in connection with a money laundering case relating to the scam.

In its charge sheet, ED also named DMK supremo M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal as accused in the case in which it alleged that Rs 200 crore was paid by STPL promoters to DMK-run Kalaignar TV.

The final report named 10 individuals and nine companies as accused in the case and the ED has chargesheeted them for the offence of money laundering under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

( Source – PTI )

2G: Kanimozhi moves SC seeking urgent hearing

KanimozhiDMK MP Kanimozhi has filed apetition in the the Supreme Court for an urgent hearing on her plea to quash the charges framed against her in the 2G case.

In her plea, Kanimozhi said that two-and-a-half years have passed since she first moved the Delhi High Court and later the apex court seeking quashing of charges against her.

She said the trial before the Special CBI court was progressing on a day-to-day basis and any delay in hearing would render her plea infructuous.

Kanimozhi, daughter of DMK Chief Karunanidhi, said that in the absence of her plea not being heard at the earliest, she is “needlessly undergoing the agony of the trial”.

“The continuance of the trial against her without any material basis would amount to abuse of process of law, and result in gross miscarriage and failure of justice,” her application said.

The apex court had earlier issued notice to the CBI on Kanimozhi’s petition seeking quashing of the charges against her.

Initially, Kanimozhi and the other accused in the 2G case had moved the Delhi High Court seeking quashing of charges, but on a plea by the CBI, they were put on hold.

Kanimozhi had moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of the charges against her in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, claiming she has been falsely implicated in the case.

Kanimozhi had said that she was one of the directors of Kalaignar TV for two weeks June 6-20, 2007, when she resigned and had nothing to do with the channel’s financial transactions.

The CBI alleged that the TV channel was the beneficiary of Rs. 200 crore transaction in the 2G scam.

(Source: PTI)

Kanimozhi: ED chargesheet on sketchy material

KanimozhiDMK MP Kanimozhi today argued in a Delhi court that there was no “iota of evidence” against her regarding the alleged “parking” of Rs 200 crore in Kalaignar TV and Enforcement Directorate (ED) has chargesheeted her only on the basis of “sketchy material”.

Arguing on framing of charges and on the bail plea moved by Kanimozhi, senior advocate Rebecca John, who appeared for her, contended the DMK MP was not linked in any manner with the alleged transaction of Rs 200 crore from DB group company to DMK-run Kalaignar TV.

“On these very very sketchy material, ED has now turned this into a grand allegation against her as if she had done some extraordinary thing….Not an iota of evidence is there which will even prima facie show that Kanimozhi had anything to do with the parking of Rs 200 crore in KTV,” John told Special CBI Judge O P Saini.

ED had filed a charge sheet against 19 accused, including Kanimozhi and former Telecom Minister A Raja, claiming that the transaction of Rs 200 crore, which was allegedly paid to Kalaignar TV, was “not genuine” and it was a “bribe for grant of telecom licences to DB Group companies”.

During the arguments, John said Kanimozhi has been made an accused in the case merely because she used to regularly visit Raja’s office and was a promoter director of Kalaignar TV for just 13 days.

“Kanimozhi has resigned from the post of promoter director of Kalaignar TV after she was elected to Rajya Sabha. The decisions taken in board meetings of the company during her stint as promoter director were purely concerning the company and does not prove any illegality,” she contended.

John further argued that post resignation, she was just a minority shareholder of the company and had no say in company matters.

“Kanimozhi never visited the company after she resigned from her post….The allegation by prosecution that she was active brain behind the operations of Kalaignar TV is totally baseless. No criminality is made out if Kanimozhi and Raja meet each other being MPs from DMK party,” she contended while seeking bail for her client.

(Source: PTI)

 

 

Kanimozhi had no role in 2G case: witness

In a CBI court a prosecution witness told that DMK MP Kanimozhi, accused in the 2G spectrum allocation scam case, had “no role at all” in the Rs 200 crore transactions between Kalaignar TV (P) Ltd and Cineyug Films (P) Ltd.

CBI witness G Rajendran, general manager (finance) of Kalaignar TV, told special CBI judge OP Saini that the DMK MP had no role in the investment matters between Kalaignar TV and Cineyug Films, whose director Karim Morani is also facing trial in the case.

On being cross-examined by senior advocate Sushil Kumar, who appeared for Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar, Rajendran said DMK chief Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal was fully aware of the decision to raise Rs 200 crore from Cineyug Films and Sharad had “not acted independently on his own” as all his actions were authorized and approved by Dayalu Ammal. He also told the court that Rs 200 crore transaction between the two companies was “genuine” and no “sham document” was executed in this regard.

Rajendran told the court that Kalaignar TV had applied for the requisite licence from the ministry of information and broadcasting more than a month after Kanimozhi’s resignation from directorship of the channel on June 20, 2007. “It is correct that application for licence to ministry of I&B was made for the first time on July 30, 2007, more than a month after resignation of Kanimozhi Karunanidhi,” he said.

Rajendran told the court that Kalaignar TV received Rs 200 crore from Cineyug Films and the money was received through banking channels in different tranches. He also said that on receipt of Rs 200 crore, all the money was put into the business of Kalaignar TV.

“Starting with the month of December 2010, the money was returned along with interest to Cineyug Films in different tranches. The money was returned as Cineyug Films insisted on its return. Cineyug Films asked for the return of the money, as it had approached Kalaignar TV for equity participation and that did not happen,” Rajendran said, adding that the money started to come from Cineyug Films in December 2008 and continued till August 2009.

The statement assumes significance as it contradicts the CBI theory according to which Kanimozhi was taking interest in the day-to-day affairs of the TV channel in which she owned 20% shares.

The agency had chargesheeted Kanimozhi alleging that Rs 200 crore “illegal gratification” was routed from Dynamix Realty to Kalaignar TV through Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd and Cineyug Films.

According to the CBI, Dayalu Ammal, his daughter Kanimozhi and co-accused Sharad Kumar have 60%, 20% and 20% shares of the TV channel respectively.

Kanimozhi, along with others, including former telecom minister A Raja, is facing trial in the case for various offences punishable under the IPC and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

2G scam: Kanimozhi, three others move high court for bail

DMK MP Kanimozhi and three others accused in the 2G case Saturday moved Delhi High Court seeking bail, two days after a CBI special court turned down their plea.

Kanimozhi, who is in jail since May, along with Kalaignar TV chief Sharad Kumar, directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv B. Agarwal approached the high court for bail.

The CBI Special Court Thursday denied bail to Kanimozhi and seven others, saying the court will begin trial in the 2G scam from Nov 11.

Others whose bail applications were dismissed included Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, former communications minister A. Raja’s then private secretary R.K. Chandolia, Bollywood producer Karim Morani, and former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura.

Kanimozhi has been denied bail four times.

No bail for Kanimozhi, seven others

The bail pleas of DMK MP Kanimozhi and seven others accused in the 2G spectrum allotment scam were Thursday dismissed by a CBI special court that said all the applications were without merit. They will continue to be lodged in Tihar Jail.

Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini said: “All the bail applications are dismissed. The court will begin its trial from Nov 11.”

Saini had earlier reserved the order on the bail pleas of Kanimozhi, Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, former communications minister A. Raja’s ex-private secretary R.K. Chandolia, Kalaignar TV chief Sharad Kumar, directors of Kusegaon Fruits & Vegetables Pvt Ltd Asif Balwa and Rajiv B. Agarwal, Bollywood producer Karim Morani and former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura.

All were present in court Thursday. Several of their family members broke into tears after the ruling.

“The facts of the cases as well as the charges levelled against accused are of very serious nature having grave implications for the economy,” the judge said.

While dismissing the bail application of Kanimozhi, daughter of former Tamil Nadu chief minister M. Karunanidhi, the court said: “Accused Kanimozhi belongs to upper echelons of the society and she is also a MP. By no stretch of imagination she can be said to be suffering from any discrimination on ground of being a women alone.”

The DMK, which was banking on Kanimozhi’s release, was shocked. “Party leaders are in shock. The party will remain silent. Lawyers will make a statement,” a DMK leader said in Chennai.

Rejecting Karim Morani’s application, the court pronounced: “On the basis of medical papers already on record, it cannot be held that the standard of illness of the accused is so high as to categorise his custody as detrimental to his health.”

The special CBI judge also said he had passed this order “to the best of my knowledge and ability without being influenced by the earlier orders on the bail applications or by any other extraneous influence, but solely on the basis of the facts and circumstances of the case”.

“The bail application are without merit and same are dismissed,” he added.

The CBI had not opposed the bail pleas of Kanimozhi, Sharad Kumar, Asif Balwa, Rajiv B. Agarwal and Karim Morani on the ground that they faced specific charges, apart from the “umbrella section” of 120-B (criminal conspiracy) IPC, which entail five years sentence as maximum punishment.

The agency has also slapped charges of criminal breach of trust under Section 409 of IPC which carries life term as maximum punishment, against Kanimozhi and four others.

The agency, however, had opposed the bail pleas of Shahid Balwa, Chandolia and Behura.

Regarding Shahid Balwa and Chandolia, special public prosecutor U.U. Lalit had told the court that they should be denied bail as maximum punishment for the specific charges levelled against them was seven years.

 

We did not oppose Kanimozhi’s bail: CBI

Even as the Supreme Court Tuesday reserved orders on the bail pleas of five top corporate honchos in the 2G spectrum scam, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said it did not oppose the bail petitions of DMK MP Kanimozhi and four others earlier before the trial court.

 Appearing for CBI, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Harin Raval told Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice H.L. Dattu that the concession given to Kanimozhi and four others was not available to other accused.

 The investigating agency opposed the bail plea of former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura even though he sought the same concession, the ASG said.

 Special public prosecutor U.U. Lalit told the CBI special court Judge O.P. Saini that it should decide the bail plea of Kanimozhi and four others independent of the fact that it was not opposed by the investigating agency, Raval told the supreme court.

 The four others are the promoters of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Asif Balwa and Rajeev B. Agarwal, Cineyug Film’s Karim Morani and Kalaignar TV’s Managing Director Sharad Kumar.

 Raval said this in response to the court’s query Monday, seeking to know if the CBI had not opposed the bail plea of Kanimozhi and four others before Judge Saini Oct 24.

The court made its query in the wake of a statement by senior counsel Ram Jethmalani that the investigating agency had not opposed the bail plea of Kanimozhi and four others before the trial court.

 The special court reserved its order on their bail applications for Nov 3.

 Raval told the court that he has twice spoken to Lalit, leading the CBI case before Judge Saini, on the matter.

Lalit gave the reasons why the concession was made, Raval said.

 If the court so desired, the reasons could be disclosed, Raval added.

 Justice Singhvi said that it was the absolute discretion of CBI and the special public prosecutor to submit before the trial court.

 After Raval’s statement, Jethmalani told the court that it should pronounce operative part of its order on the bail pleas as it would “help in mitigating the sufferings” of the accused.

The court also expressed its “serious anguish” over the distorted reporting of its Monday’s proceedings by a section of the media.

 

2G scam: A Raja, Kanimozhi, 15 others charged with criminal breach of trust

A Delhi court today found prima facie evidence against all the 17 accused including former Telecom Minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi and corporate honchos to frame charges against them in the 2G Spectrum allocation scam case for varying roles.

The court found prima facie evidence to frame charges against Raja’s former Private Secretary RK Chandolia and former Telecom Secretary Siddhartha Behura.

In addition, it said there was evidence for framing of charges against Raja, Behura and Chandolia under section 409 of the IPC for the offence of breach of trust against them which attracts maximum punishment of life term.

With an important milestone crossed in the case, the accused can now now move for bail as observed by the Supreme Court during the hearing of bail petition by Kanimozhi earlier.

Special CBI Judge OP Saini said evidence is there for framing of charges against telecom firms Reliance Telecom Ltd, Swan Telecom and Unitech (Tamil Nadu) Wireless Ltd.

The judge also said CBI has also brought evidence to frame charges against corporate executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani group’s Managing Director Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara, Group’s President and Hari Nair, senior Vice President.

Others against whom charges will be framed are Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa, his cousin Asif Balwa, their colleague Rajeev Agarwal, Unitech Ltd’s MD Sanjay Chandra and DB Realty MD Vinod Goenka.

The judge said there was prima facie evidence for framing charges also against Kalaignar TV’s MD Sharad Kumar and Bollywood filmmaker Karim Morani.

The court wanted to frame the charges today itself but all the accused said they need time to go through the over 700-page order on charges to be framed later.

The court found prima facie evidence to frame various penal charges including cheating, forgery, abetment and criminal conspiracy against the accused. It also found prima facie evidence of abuse of official position by Raja, Chandolia and Behura. The court had reserved its order on October 14 after hearing day-to-day arguments on behalf of accused and the CBI for nearly two months.

The trial of the accused would begin after the court pronounces its order on framing of charges in the case. The CBI, in its first charge sheet filed on April 2, had charged Raja and others with causing a huge loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer by allocating spectrum to ineligible operators as per a criminal conspiracy among themselves.

Special CBI Prosecutor U U Lalit had argued that there was “sufficient prima facie” evidence against all the accused to proceed with the trial as everyone of them was part of the conspiracy and the intent to commit offence “may be inferred from their knowledge”.

On the other hand, all the accused including Raja had vehemently opposed the framing of charges and the plea of CBI that they caused a loss to the state in the grant of spectrum licenses.

Raja, during the arguments, sought to drag names of the Prime Minister and then Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the case saying they were kept apprised about the developments in the 2G sepctrum allocation.

 

Criminal breach of trust, conspiracy charge not valid: Kanimozhi

Jailed DMK MP Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV chief Sharad Kumar Saturday argued in the special court that they cannot be said to have committed a criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy in the 2G scam as they were not related in any way to the alleged dishonest disposal of the spectrum.

 

Responding to a fresh plea of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which sought the trial court’s nod to frame fresh charges against the 17 accused, including former communication minister A. Raja, both Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar asked the court to dismiss the agency’s application and “render justice”.

 

Their lawyers V.G. Pragasam and S.J. Aristotle, submitting their reply before Special Judge O.P. Saini, said Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar had nothing to do with the allocation of spectrum nor were they in any way the beneficiary of the spectrum licences so allocated.

They said even the CBI had said that the two were not part of the conspiracy relating to allocation of spectrum.

 “The offence punishable under Section 409 r/w 120 B IPC (Indian Penal Code) inasmuch as they were not related in any way to the alleged dishonest disposal of the valuable spectrum illegally, in violation of the existing policies and eligibility criterion in order to confer wrongful gain to the corporate officials,” said Kanimozhi and Kumar in their reply application.

 

The CBI Sep 26 asked the special court for permission to frame charges for criminal breach of trust by a public servant against Raja, his former aide R.K. Chandolia, and former telecom department secretary Siddartha Behura.

 Criminal breach of trust is a non-bailable offence with punishment that stretches from 10 years to life imprisonment.

 Special Public Prosecutor U.U. Lalit said that a case of framing of charges for criminal breach of trust under section 409 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was certainly made out against Raja, Chandolia and Behura.

 “It is submitted that accused one, two and three (Raja, Behura and Chandolia) were public servants having a dominion over valuable 2G spectrum in their respective capacities as public servants,” the CBI said in its application.

 The agency also pressed for charges of criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy against the remaining 14 co-accused in the 2G scam, including Kanimozhi and three telecom firms.

 “Besides Raja and two former officials, all others, including Kanimozhi and three telecom firms, should be charged under section 409 (criminal breach of trust) read with 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC,” the application states.

 

However, Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar in their reply said they were made co-accused by way of supplementary charge sheet for criminal conspiracy and under the Prevention of Corruption Act only for the alleged receipt of Rs.200 crore as illegal gratification, which in fact was only a genuine loan transaction through proper banking channels and which has been paid back with interest after due tax deducted at source.

“Therefore, criminal liability or offence under section 409 IPC r/w 120B IPC cannot be fastened on Knimozhi and Kumar by extension of the alleged larger conspiracy relating to allotment of spectrum licence,” said the reply.

 

The other accused include Swan Telecom’s Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Wireless’ Sanjay Chandra and Reliance Group’s Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nayar, besides three companies – Unitech Wireless, Swan Telecom and Reliance Telecom.

 

These people apart, agency has also named as co-accused Kalaignar TV’s Sharad Kumar, Cineyug Film`s Karim Morani, and the directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, Asif Balwa and Rajeev B. Agarwal.